**Note: I wrote about a loud noise that shook the walls a few nights ago. Jessie found out that it was actually a natural gas house explosion down the street. Luckily the house was unoccupied, so there were no fatalities and only one minor injury. It sounds like there was a gas leak that was ultimately ignited by a light.**
Today was a very busy day (we walked miles and miles) and we have to get up super early for our trip to Caral tomorrow, so this will be relatively brief for as much as we packed in for one day. I'm pretty exhausted so please forgive any weird grammar issues, but I'm afraid that if I don't write now it will never happen since tomorrow is just as busy! (And I must say, after all of the stair climbing yesterday and all of the walking today, my calves are quite sore!)
After wandering around by foot in the morning trying to find our way back to Crepes and Waffles, we finally had our breakfast and headed out by cab to Parque Kennedy. We were seeking the "Inca Market" that Jessie had told us about... we didn't find it there (a small, disappointing market was there instead), but we did find a place to print out our official passes to Machu Picchu since Jessie doesn't have a printer and we got some cold drinks before heading out on foot for our next destination, Huaca Pucllana.
On the way there we found a computer megastore... more like a mall filled with nothing but electronics stores... and since Jim, Erik, and Steph are all geeks of course we had to go wander through it. Further down the street we *did* find the "real" Inca Market, in a place we weren't expecting it to be (actually Plaza Inca), so we spent a little time wandering around looking at the trinkets and local handicrafts. Steph was very amused by a shirt with a picture of a llama on a motorcycle that said "llamaha" (you know, like Yamaha, since ll is pronounced like y).
It was about noon by the time we arrived at Huaca Pucllana, the ruins that are right in Miraflores. Admission was about 12 soles per person, or around 5 US dollars. It is an adobe pyramid thought to be used for ceremonial purposes by the Lima people from about AD 200 to 500. We waited around for our tour for around 45 minutes or so (you can't take yourself on a tour) and the tour itself lasted for around 45 minutes. All of the mud bricks in the structure were formed by hand and dried in the sun. They place them vertically in a "bookshelf" style, which is why they can withstand seismic activity since earthquakes are common. They repeated that the traditional ceremonial/feast dish was shark meat about four times, so I suppose we won't be forgetting that any time soon! They also had a section that showed many of the animals and crops that were raised there at that time, petting zoo/garden style (live animals and plants). We had a good time looking at the llamas, alpacas (different from the other llamas), cuy (guinea pigs, so cute!), ducks, corn, quinoa, yuca, and sweet potato.
Right at the entrance of the ruins is a high-end restaurant, Restaurant Huaca Pucllana, which has a beautiful large porch dining area that overlooks the ruins. They had hands down THE best butter I'd ever tasted until that point for the dinner rolls (topped only by the butter we would later have at dinner, coming soon) and superb dishes. Jim and I decided on goat cheese ravioli with a pumpkin sauce (we were a little meated-out at that point) while Erik and Steph had fish dishes. We all agreed it was the best meal so far.
Since it was getting to be pretty late, just after 4:00pm, we decided to just look at it from outside the fence and then catch a cab to our last stop, the Plaza de Armas or city center in central Lima (it was too far away to walk).
We set out on foot once more to a restored pyramid similar to the previous ruins about half a mile away (or maybe more), Huaca Huallamarca. The Plaza de Armas is a very pretty square with the palace and a beautiful cathedral surrounding a large fountain. We wandered around until after five, then we took a cab back to Jessie's apartment in Miraflores.
Jessie took us to dinner at a restaurant she'd been wanting to try by the water's edge. I can't remember the name at the moment, it started with a C and that's all I've got. :) All I know is that dinner topped lunch and the atmosphere was amazing... we were up on a balcony overlooking the waves of the Pacific Ocean as the sun set. The food was awesome and the rolls were served with three... count them, three... flavors of amazing butter: original, olive, and chili/cheese. Most of us had some sort of fish (I had grouper and prawns) with different flavors of risotto which were all very good, and we split a couple of beautifully arranged desserts amongst us.
They say that Lima is an up and coming food capital of the world, and I would agree. Yes, Jim and I tend to focus a lot on the food when we travel. Trying new things (and new interpretations of old things) is half of the fun!
We were all dead tired when we got home. Poor Jim isn't feeling very well (may be a light traveler's stomach bug) so he went straight to bed and is sleeping as I write. We have to get up at around 5:30am to catch our tour to Caral, so I just hope that he gets a good night's rest and is feeling better by the time morning comes. It is a three hour bus ride to our destination, so maybe he'll be able to take a nap.
As of yesterday the baby in the oven has decided it's pretty fun to start kicking around in my tummy at around bed time, so he'll probably keep me up again tonight. :) Happy resting everyone!